By Arena Football League standards, Joe Goosby is an old man.
Goosby, 28, laughs over the phone when presented with this premise, then just as fast, agrees. That’s OK, he adds, as he’s found a football home in this pass-first league.
On Saturday night, Goosby, a former safety at Tulane, will lead the Philadelphia Soul against the visiting New Orleans VooDoo at the Wells Fargo Center, part of his seventh season of football after college.
“Before I leave, I want to win a championship,” Goosby said. “I’ve been to two championship games here, in 2012 and 2013. And I still feel in my heart that I still love the game.”
With the Green Wave, he played strong and free safety. In the AFL, he’s a jack linebacker.
Regardless of the position change, his game day goals are the same — to make as many plays as he can. And he still does. Everywhere.
Goosby ranks second on the Philadelphia Soul in tackles (36½), while also posting one interception, three forced fumbles and on special teams, one blocked kick. On offense, he’s scored four times from the backfield.
Not that his transition from college to the AFL was easy. Actually, it was full of boxes, dumbbells, and packages.
In 2008, Goosby sat out off football for one year before earning a job in the Arena Football League — it suspended operations that summer before returning the following season. During that time, Goosby, fresh out of Tulane, worked out for the New Orleans Saints and in the Canadian Football League while working at a moving company, as a personal trainer and at UPS as a driver’s helper.
His football career continued with uncertain stability as he bounced from the Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings (AF2) and Stampede Express (IFL) to the Dallas Vigilantes (AFL) and the Soul, where he has played since 2012.
If the New Orleans VooDoo (2-8) hope to end their losing streak at four games, they will have to contend with Goosby and the Soul defense, which is allowing 45.6 points per game, second-best in the AFL. The VooDoo, meanwhile, are averaging (41.2) points per game, 11th out of 12 AFL teams. Not that the Soul will make it easy. Their 9-1 record is the second-best this season in the league.
“New Orleans, even though its record doesn’t show it, has shown on film it will fight all the way until the end,” Goobsy said. “And it’s a division game, so we’re definitely not looking past them.”
Quarterback Adam Kennedy returned to practice this week after missing the past four games with a shoulder injury. Coach Dean Cokinos is expected to make a game-time decision between Kennedy and Brian Reader, who has started in his absence.